Special Report

The Oldest Living Veterans of WWII

Friedrich Grade
> Born: 1916
> Age as of Feb. 13: 106 years, 321 days
> Home country: Germany

Former Kriegsmarine submariner Friedrich Grade is the last surviving crew member of the submarine U-96. The submarine became famous as the subject of Lothar-Günther Buchheim’s 1973 bestselling novel “Das Boot” and the 1983 Oscar-nominated film adaptation of the same name. Grade was lucky to survive the war. The Allies destroyed 785 U-boats out of a total of 1,162, and U-boat crews had a casualty rate of over 75%.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

James Clayton Flowers
> Born: 1915
> Age as of Feb. 13: 107 years, 50 days
> Home country: United States

James Clayton Flowers is one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, the famed group of Black aviators who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. The airmen trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. They flew missions in Europe and North Africa during the war, and helped the racial integration of America’s military.

Constantin Hertoiu
> Born: 1914
> Age as of Feb. 13: 108 years, 350 days
> Home country: Romania

Constantin Hertoiu is the second-oldest known living man in Romania and the second-oldest living veteran in Romania, after IIie Ciocan (see above). Hertoiu joined the military in 1936 and fought on the Eastern Front against the Soviet Union in World War II Hertoiu was captured by the Soviet Union during the Battle of Stalingrad and held prisoner by the Russians for five years in Siberia, working in a coal mine.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Kazimierz Klimczak
> Born: 1914
> Age as of Feb. 13: 108 years, 363 days
> Home country: Poland

Kazimierz Klimczak, a former Polish army officer, is the oldest living participant in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. He served in the Polish Army when Germany invaded Poland in 1939 and was wounded. As the Soviet Red Army drove toward Warsaw in late summer of 1944, residents of the city rose up against their German oppressors. The Soviets did not come to the Poles’ aid and the Germans put down the revolt ruthlessly, virtually razing the city. Klimczak was captured and escaped transport from Warsaw, eventually returning after the Russians captured the city.

Marcel Barbary
> Born: 1914
> Age as of Feb. 13: 109 years, 22 days
> Home country: France

Marcel Barbary joined Charles de Gaulle’s Free French forces, opposed to the Vichy France and Nazi Germany, in 1943, after escaping internment twice and traveling through Portugal to North Africa. Among his chest full of medals are: Officer in the National Order of the Legion of Honor, Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 with palm, Voluntary Combatant’s Cross 1939-45, Voluntary Combatant’s Cross of the Resistance, Combatant’s Cross, Medal for Escapees, Medal for Voluntary Services in Free France, and Medal for Internment for Acts of Resistance.

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